Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to be given a special traditional burial and funeral rites by Manhyia in-line with those bestowed on Asante kings.
The International diplomat who served two terms as the UN chief died on Saturday, 17 August 2018, in a hospital at Bern, Switzerland, after a short illness. He was aged 80.
Ghana’s flag is flying at half-mast for a week across the country from 20 August and in all of Ghana’s missions globally in his honour.
The Ghanaian national was the first black African to be appointed as the world’s top diplomat and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work during his eight years in the role.
In recognition of his service to humanity, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II on Friday, 16 August 2002 conferred on Mr Annan, the title ‘Busumuru’; the highest traditional title in the Asante Kingdom.
“I and the entire Ashanti state have decided to add your name to the Busumuru title because of your selflessness and contributions to humanity, and (promotion) of peace throughout the world,” Otumfuor said as he placed a symbolic gold necklace around Annan’s neck at a traditional gathering in August 2002, the AP reported.
Busumuru is the name of the golden sacred sword, the highest sword of office used by the Asantehene to swear allegiance to the Asante Kingdom. The sword can only be held by its custodian and the Asante King.
According to a historian of Manhyia Palace, Osei Bonsu Sarfo Kantanka, the late Annan ought to be given a special burial rite typical of the ones given to Kings of Asante in view of the Busumuru title given to him.
“As for that [special traditional burial & funeral], as tradition demands, all cost, it is a must; For bestowing the title Busumuru on him, it is a must. His funeral, no matter what, belongs to the Ashantehene,” Sarfo Kantanka told Onua FM.
Mr Annan is the first and only person in the Asante Kingdom to have held that title.
“Ashanti has bestowed upon its illustrious son a precious title and the highest title in the Ashanti kingdom to his son Kofi Annan and so it can be likened to a statesman who has served the state hence mandatory that at all cost, Ashanti Kingdom would give him a state burial,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Manhyia is yet to speak on the matter.
Hailed as a builder of peace
The Government has hailed Mr Annan as a voice for a more peaceful and equal world.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was dedicated to maintaining international order and tackling conflict.
Mr Annan recognised Ireland’s central role in peace-building operations overseas and supported the Northern Ireland peace process, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said.
Mr Coveney added: “With the sad passing of Kofi Annan, the international community has lost one of its greatest champions for these causes.
“His dedication to a more equal, interdependent and peaceful world is a shining example to all.
Irish President Michael D Higgins said Mr Annan was a constant reminder of the importance of multilateral action by states and of the urgent need to tackle climate change and assist vulnerable communities who are experiencing its effects most acutely.
“He was a great representative of his country Ghana and of the African continent, and his wisdom, empathy, humour and insights will be greatly missed by all.”